Los Angeles Dodgers: Making Cody Bellinger’s MVP case

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 09: Cody Bellinger (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 09: Cody Bellinger (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The 22-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers slugger is making a serious case to become the first major leaguer since Ichiro Suzuki to win the rookie of the year and most valuable player award in the same season.

Since Cody Bellinger’s call up in late April, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been dominating baseball at historical rates. The Dodgers are an astounding 72-23 when Bellinger plays, winning at a .757 clip. During this time they have THREE nine game + win streaks and had the best 50 game stretch since 1912.

Unfortunately for the MVP race, the Dodgers may have too many candidates. They have three players (Turner, Seager, Taylor) that rank in the top-15 in fWAR. Bellinger would likely be in there too if he started the season in the majors. This probably leads to a split of votes at the end of the season. MVP candidates Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are the only legitimate MVP candidates on their team.

Bellinger may have the best shot to win it due to the success the Dodgers have had with him in the lineup and the gaudy numbers he has been able to post. Let’s take a look at the three reasons why Bellinger could win the rookie of the year and MVP award in his first season.

The greatest argument to be made for Bellinger is his impact on the team itself. The Los Angeles Dodgers are a scorching hot 72-23 when the kid is in the lineup. They went 44-7 over a 51 game stretch, the best stretch in the majors since the 1912 New York Giants.

They had three 9-10 game winning streaks, over the course of 39 games, and have yet to lose a series since June 5-7 against the Washington Nationals.

The Dodgers are on pace to win 114 games and are threatening to go down as the greatest regular season team of any era. The Los Angeles Dodgers could go 19-28 to finish the season and still finish with 100 wins.

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In 94 games this season Bellinger has put up some ridiculous numbers. He has a slash line of .268/.343/.608 with 33 home runs and 78 RBIs. He ranks second in the NL in home runs, ninth in RBIs and tenth in wRC+.

These numbers have all come in limited time as well. Out of the top-30 players in fWAR, Bellinger has the fourth-least amount of games played, behind Justin Turner and two American League players.

As good as Cody Bellinger has been all season, he has been absolutely scorching late in the game. Bellinger leads all of baseball in home runs (15), RBIs (32) and slugging % after the 7th inning. He is also second in wRC+, wOBA and OPS.

Bellinger is also among the leaders in the game in win probability added. He is fifth in all of baseball in cumulative win probability added and is 19th when in the clutch.

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The NL MVP race is about as crowded as it gets, but Cody Bellinger has had arguably the greatest impact on the best team in baseball.